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Digital News & Analysis

Why Apple Pay Will Boost Mobile Payments

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Apple did more than announce its new, bigger iPhone 6 and super sized iPhone 6 Plus and much-anticipated Apple Watch earlier this month.

It also showcased its new mobile payment system, Apple Pay. Though payment via mobile devices using near-field communication (NFC) is not a new concept, Apple went beyond the norm.

Rather than just add an NFC radio to its new phones and watch and call it a day, it engineered a complete payment system and network. It's now ready for launch with its other new products, which is very likely why Apple Pay will succeed where other NFC payment systems have failed.

Stock Photo Agency Adds Social to Search

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Sure a picture is worth a whole lotta words. But how do you find the right picture to use in your marketing?

As anyone who has combed the archives of a stock photo site can attest, it isn't easy. 

But Dreamstime, a stock photography agency based in Brentwood, Tenn., claims it has a solution. It's factoring social media into its search function.

Kana Blends Analytics Into Its Customer Engagement Suite #Connect2014

Thumbnail image for 2014-10-July-SS-Robert Hoetink.jpgSince Verint bought KANA earlier this year for $514 million, the question has been how the business analytics company would blend KANA's customer experience services into its suite of employee services.

The answer, or at least a big part of it, came today in San Francisco as the new "KANA, a Verint company" introduced a big data solution called Engagement Analytics at the Connect2014 conference.

The new product ties the actions of employees together with the experience of customers across the web, mobile, contact center and other channels in near real time.

Why Agile As We Know It Will Disappear

2014-22-September-BackFlip.jpgSomeday, Agile as we know it will disappear. It won’t be because everyone will give up on sprints and story points. It won’t be because some new idea blows it all away. Tomorrow’s Agile will be fundamentally different, because it will be just that -- fundamental.

Wrapping Up Hubspot's #INBOUND14

HubSpot's INBOUND 2014 conference wrapped up yesterday in Boston, ending a week of events punctuated by higher-than-anticipated attendance and the company’s announcement that it would be launching a new sales platform. It includes a free CRM and what the company calls a “sales acceleration product” called Sidekick.

Want to Understand Your Customers? Talk to Seth Godin

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Seth Godin writes the most popular marketing blog in the world — and he gets customer experience.

As he once noted,  "The complaining customer doesn't want a refund. He wants a connection, an apology and some understanding. He wants to know why you made him feel stupid or ripped off or disrespected, and why it's not going to happen again." 

And he knows that an apology means more than a mumbled "sorry." It has to include both compassion and contrition, he wrote recently:

We're sorry that your flight was cancelled. This must have truly messed up your day, sir." That's a statement of compassion. "Cancelling a flight that a valued customer trusted us to fly is not the way we like to do business. We messed up." That's what contrition sounds like. We were wrong and we learned from it. The disappointing thing is that most people and organizations that take the time to apologize intentionally express neither compassion nor contrition."

Godin is the founder of Squidoo.com, a fast-growing recommendation website, and the author of 17 bestselling books. He is responsible for many words in the marketer's vocabulary, including permission marketing, ideaviruses, purple cows, the dip and sneezers.

Combine what has been called his "irrepressible speaking style" with his "no-holds-barred blog" and you can understand how he has developed a worldwide following. 

How to Tune Up Your Tweets #INBOUND14

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Fair to say Twitter has a pretty good audience with its 271 million active monthly users who collectively send out a billion tweets every two days.

As you might suspect, research shows that tapping into Twitter really helps to drive your business.

According to Twitter statistics
• 73 percent of users feel better about an SMB after following its account and reading its Tweets
• 60 percent of users who follow SMBs have purchased something because of Twitter

But not all tweets are created equal. 

Keeping Up with Customers in a Cross Channel World

2014-18-September-Running.jpgA decade ago, it would have been safe to assume that you were reading this through an internet browser. Gathering data on your reading habits was fairly straightforward in those days because your browser yielded information that was relatively complete, especially when you consider the rather small universe of digital media then.

Times have changed. Today, the browser is just one of many places where customer behaviors and interactions can be captured. As the universe of channels, touch points, and devices expands, so has the browser’s importance begun to shrink. Brand marketers who won the battle for the browser were the biggest winners in the past. Today, and in the future, the successful brand marketers will be those who move beyond the browser and follow their customers into a cross channel world.

Use Human Data to Provide True B2B Personalization

2014-18-September-Crowds.jpgAn enormous shift is occurring in how B2B customers think about engagement and relationships. Customers expect marketers to achieve relevance by providing personalized communications based on their individual preferences, rather than continuing with irrelevant “spray and pray” marketing blasts. It’s this new way of thinking that’s unlocking the true potential of human data.

Alibaba: The Web IPO Heard Round the World

2014-18-September-Monopoly-Money.jpgThe global Internet and finance community is transfixed by the Initial Public Offering (IPO) of Alibaba Group Holdings, the  Chinese e-commerce giant that is expected to go public on Friday at a market capitalization in excess of $160 billion. This is likely to be the largest IPO of all time, raising up to $25 billion in capital for the company and giving a market capitalization larger than eBay (market cap, $64B) and possibly Amazon.com ($150B).

Introducing the Chief Listening Officer

2014-18-September-Listen.jpgThe universal interest in improving the “customer experience” both heartens and amuses me. Heartens because it's a good thing: who doesn't want a simpler, easier and more relevant experience in the multichannel world? Amuses because the term -- like many Holy Grail concepts -- is strong on hope and weak on follow through. For all of the interest in customer experience and all of the touted methods, systems and platforms, can you honestly tell me that your customer experience is better today than it was a year ago? Or two years ago?

Three Tips For a Bang-Up Blog

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Looking to get the most bang for your blog?

Follow the three-step playbook created by Anum Hussain, a growth marketer for HubSpot's inbound sales division, created after staring down the daunting challenge of creating a new blog HubSpot’s sales acceleration product, Sidekick. 

It's not enough just to have a blog, she said, you've got to create the right one.

Amber Road Automates Global Trade

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International trade volumes over the past 10 years have nearly tripled. With this rising flow of imports and exports comes growing supply chain complexity, as a single shipment may involve more than a dozen parties, ever-changing regulations, multiple languages and various modes of transportation.

Yet a recent survey indicated that 70 percent of the respondents still use spreadsheets for global trade management (GTM).

Many companies involved in global trade have a dedicated (and costly) staff to keep track of and comply with detailed, country-specific regulations. Transportation rates and schedules need to be analyzed; shipments must be screened against 200 lists containing an aggregate of more than 250,000 restricted parties.

Not properly managing this complex web of global trade results in poor supply chain performance, increased costs and exposure to fines/penalties. This sounds like a segment primed for some cloud disruption.

Chris Brogan: Stay Focused, Stay Social and Be Nice

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Chris Brogan is a lot of things … an author, journalist, marketing consultant, public speaker and "veteran of the social media revolution."

He's CEO of Owner Media Group, publisher of a digital business magazine called, not surprisingly, Owner. He's consulted for a host of companies, including GM, Coke, PepsiCo, Sony, Microsoft, Google and Motorola, and he's a New York Times bestselling author of eight books, including The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth, and Just Start Here 

But forget about all that for a moment. The thing it seems Brogan really wants you to know is that he's a nice guy. As he explains on his blog:

Biographies are really weird things. About pages. All that. You basically have to primp yourself up and act all pompous and important and make sure people know why you’re worth it. I’m a really approachable and nice-seeming guy. Never hesitate to introduce yourself to me when you see me out and about, okay? I'm nice. Promise."

And this nice guy finished first, too, at least on one of Forbes magazine's list of social media power influencers and Business Insider's list of people to follow on Twitter.

Building a Results-Driven Culture of Quality

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Quality counts. Or does it?

According to new research from ASQ (American Society for Quality), an association of professionals in the field of quality management and improvement, and Forbes Insights, a clear vision, solid values and strong leadership are key components to a successful culture of quality — and that culture of quality can help organizations drive results.

However, only about 60 percent of all respondents think management unequivocally supports their organization’s quality vision and values, of which nearly 60 percent say are clearly stated.

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